Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

Federal banking regulators this thirty days cracked down on MetaBank, a significant prepaid credit card issuer, an action that tossed into concern the pending initial general general general public providing of prepaid credit card system supervisor NetSpend Corp.

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend is planned to expense its long-planned IPO on Thursday, in accordance with reports regarding the economic cables. But its ties that are close MetaBank caused rounds of conjecture about whether or not the IPO will in truth take place. A NetSpend representative states he can’t comment.

On Tuesday, MetaBank’s moms and dad business, Storm https://cartitleloansflorida.net Lake, Iowa-based Meta Financial Group Inc., reported towards the Securities and Exchange Commission that any office of Thrift Supervision had taken enforcement actions against MetaBank. The OTS banned MetaBank from issuing any brand brand new loans under its iAdvance item at the time of Wednesday, and in addition it put settings on its company of issuing loans prior to clients’ receipt of income income tax refunds, alleged anticipation that is tax-refund.

“The OTS recommended us on Oct. 6 so it has determined that the lender involved in unfair or misleading functions or techniques in breach of the Federal Trade Commission Act and OTS marketing laws relating to the bank’s operation for the iAdvance system and required the lender to discontinue all iAdvance line-of-credit origination task by Oct. 13, 2010,” Meta Financial’s filing states.

The filing will not offer information regarding just exactly what the OTS available at fault with iAdvance, that is a short-term loan item that MetaBank calls a “microloan” although some news reports call it a pay day loan. MetaBank provides the solution to NetSpend along with other customers for who it issues prepaid cards. How many such loans and their total receivables were not instantly available. An OTS representative declined to comment, and a Meta representative referred a Digital Transactions Information call to an professional whom failed to react by belated Wednesday.

The filing additionally claims that due to Meta’s third-party relationship danger, other dangers, and its own fast growth—growth the filing related to the expansion to its Meta Payment Systems processing division—the OTS ended up being needing it to have approval from the local manager before it may take part in different company tasks. The business requires an OTS fine before it could come into brand brand new third-party relationships, originate brand new tax-refund loans, and on occasion even provide income-tax transfers throughout the 2011 taxation period.

The point is, Meta Financial stated the discontinuance of iAdvance while the prospective discontinuance of tax-related programs now susceptible to OTS approval would “eliminate a considerable portion” of Meta Payment Systems’ gross revenue. Meta’s stocks shut down 33percent on Wednesday.

The problem that is possible NetSpend is it really is so closely connected with MetaBank. NetSpend manages 2 million active prepaid cards, and MetaBank dilemmas 71% of these, according to a filing the company made towards the SEC week that is last advance associated with IPO. NetSpend holds 4.9percent of Meta Financial’s equity, an action this system manager took “in purchase to help expand align our strategic passions with MetaBank,” NetSpend’s filing states.

Prepaid credit card researcher Tim Sloane of Mercator Advisory Group Inc. states he doubts iAdvance alone ended up being a product section of Meta’s company, but he notes that just Meta therefore the OTS have actually the details that are full. “It may be the OTS is wrestling with just how to handle prepaid in sponsoring banks, as well as in figuring that away, they’ve placed these limitations set up,” he states.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley issued a written report Wednesday saying Meta’s woes add up to an endorsement regarding the strategy of NetSpend competing Green Dot Corp., that will be into the processing of purchasing a bank. “Better to stay in control of your very own destiny,” Morgan Stanley stated.

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